QuestBridge Scholars are known for their scholarship, leadership, and service, and Kim Rosa truly exemplifies each of these traits. Since becoming a College Prep Scholar in 2013, Kim has been a Quest Liaison, Quest Ambassador, Essay Coach, Group Leader, and — most recently — a Quest Intern! We sat down with Kim so she could pass along her advice to the next generation of QuestBridge Scholars:
Based on your experience applying to college through QuestBridge, do you have any advice for students heading into the National College Match?
Begin the National College Match application as soon as possible, even if you just log in to your application and read through the different prompts and requirements. Oftentimes it can be overwhelming to think about everything that needs to be completed, but if you begin early, you will have enough time to talk to your teachers about recommendations and you can begin to brainstorm your essay responses.
Do you have any tips for students who are just starting to research colleges?
Try to visit the schools that you are interested in. Once on campus, speak with current students/professors and ask questions to learn more about what it would be like to attend that school. Get a tour of the campus too. If you’re unable to visit due to geographical or financial barriers, look into fly-in programs. Many liberal arts colleges will pay for low-income and/or minority students to visit their campus during the fall semester of senior year. When I was researching colleges, Swarthmore’s fly-in program was what convinced me to apply there for college.
What advice would you give to students who are starting to write their personal statement?
Read the essay prompts so you know what they are asking from you, quickly jot down some notes on potential essay topics and then walk away from the computer to do something you enjoy. When I was brainstorming ideas for my essays, it was easier to think about meaningful experiences when I was surrounded by the people I cared about. Once I came up with my essay topics, I would write outside where I could relax and reflect on my experiences.
Think back to 2013 … which three words would you use to describe your experience applying to QuestBridge in your senior year of high school?
Exhilarating; Challenging; Worrisome
While applying to QuestBridge was both exciting and difficult, there was a part of me that felt as if I was not qualified for college. I automatically crossed schools off my list if they had low acceptance rates, without even giving them a shot. Nonetheless, going through the National College Match process has taught me to believe in myself even if the odds are against me. While I may not always get into all the programs I am applying for, I feel at ease knowing I at least tried.
Present day … which three words would you use to describe your experience as a QuestBridge Scholar at Swarthmore?
Resilience; Resourcefulness; Thought-Provoking
Being a QuestBridge Scholar at Swarthmore comes with its benefits and challenges. As a first-generation, low-income student, I am often faced with many predicaments whether they be financial, academic, or personal. That being said, I have learned to push through the tough moments and seek out the resources available to me. I am also learning how to effectively voice my concerns and bring to light some of the struggles first-generation and/or low-income students face.
Anything else you would like to add?
Remember to stay open-minded while going through the college search process. Maybe there is a school that you never considered before, but it has many of the characteristics you are searching for in a college campus.
Be confident in yourself! Many of you have been working hard to get to where you are today and now it’s just about telling your story. If you believe in your capabilities, it will make the process a little easier.